Personal safety a concern for kids riding bikes to school

  • Monday, August 19, 2013

Dear Liz,

I have been getting increasingly anxious as school approaches and my three kids, all boys, 8, 10 and 12 will be back to riding their bikes to our neighborhood schools. They think nothing of it, and call me a “scare-dcat” for worrying. They have had safety awareness classes at school, and we have discussed it at home. Is there more out there to help them and me - especially with abductions in the news lately.

Yeah, I’m a

“Scare-d cat”

Dear Scare-d

I haven’t heard that word in a while. As a mother and grandmother, I sure wouldn’t call you that - rather a loving, concerned mom making sure she is doing all she can to educate and prepare her kids to know how to stay safe in multiple situations.

I always say, “don’t be scared, be prepared.” That applies to being personally safe, not just in storms and other emergencies. When I was a guidance counselor we taught programs like “Street smart-street safe” and “Home Alone.” There is a lot of great information out there to help you make sure you and your families have covered the bases in an age appropriate way. We must arm our kids with knowledge how to react and act in advance. And we can do this in a way that doesn’t traumatized our kids.

Here are some links to updated articles:

Abduction Prevention:


Online safety: http://www.scholastic.com/parents/resources/article/your-child-technology/keeping-kids-safe-online

Beach safety: http://www.redcross.org/prepare/disaster/water-safety/beach-safety

Overall safety without scaring kids: http://www.kidpower.org/library/article/safe-without-scared/

The bottom line is to have a family meeting where you have assimilated the most pertinent information for your children and their ages and personalities and help them present the information to one another.

I suggest putting situations on index cards, having each family member pick one at a time and either teach or role play/act out smart responses.

Practicing what you all learn while in the safety of your home is wise, reinforces the information and can be fun.

I am partial to martial arts, well taught, with common sense safety training included. Be careful that the children are not learning how to “fight it out” but rather how to be alert and wise. Rule number one in self defense is “don’t be there.” Being brave, wise and alert enough to recognize potentially risky situations or people and getting out of there. Also, to say no, go and tell.

I think is an important part of our children’s education, and goes a long way towards our peace of mind.

Contact Liz via asksharpliz@gmail.com. Liz Brisacher Sharp is a Master degree level Licensed Professional Counselor in private practice with 35 years experience in mental health.

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